The Marshmallow Test

Dear Mimi,

Let’s just get this out of the way. 2016 sucked. Sure there were a few good things scattered here or there, but the majority of it was just crappy.

But life isn’t all good things. There are ups and downs, good and bad. Some years were better than others, and unfortunately, 2016 wasn’t one of them.

Personally, 2016 was rough. There were some very depressing family issues I had to deal with, and some members I didn’t get to see at all. It’s astonishing to think that sometimes these issues were there all along, but the innocence and liveliness of childhood does such a dang good job of masking them. Seeing all of these things in a new light made me wish I wasn’t getting older. It wasn’t that things didn’t work themselves out, they did, but I didn’t get to be a part of it like I had hoped for so long.

Then, my career plans came to a standby. Again, it was a test of patience. I got into medical school, but not the one I wanted. I had to question and re-question whether it was something I really wanted to do. I had to take another year off and apply again since the school offered me a spot for Fall 2017. Some people rejected me for choosing to follow my dreams. It was so bizarre for me. Everything I had planned out so perfectly the year before was thrown back at me in my face and fell at my feet. As a Type-A personality, this was the hardest thing for me to swallow.

After that, I had to face realities with places close to my heart, countries I thought would always welcome me with open arms. This year I learned that majority of the world chooses to hate instead of love, chooses to separate instead of combine, chooses to destroy instead of build up. Whether I went back to my parents’ home country, or stayed in mine, I felt isolated and on edge, that someone might say something, that something might happen. Neither place felt like home anymore and neither place completed me, when once upon a time, both did.

And finally, for the first time in my life, I had my heart cracked, if not broken. I gave someone my heart who did not want it, and sometimes, if I’m being honest, I still think about what life would be like if he had just given me a chance. But more than that, even the rishta process was exhausting. In the past 12 months, I’ve had 18 rishtas. It’s not fun, it never was. I hate going through these profiles, one after the other, like I’m buying a house or a new car. At this point, my heart not only has walls around it, but an army guarding its safety. I just wish someone would be brave, strong, smart, and kind enough to break through everything and take care of it forever.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Walter Mischel, a professor at Stanford, conducted an experiment, which has been repeated many times over. The premise is very simple. You give a child a marshmallow and give them 2 options: 1) they could eat it now, or 2) if they waited until you came back, they would get another marshmallow provided they hadn’t eaten the first one already. One treat now, or two treats later. Keep in mind that these children don’t know how long it will be til the adult comes back. It seems like a very easy test, but the results were astounding. After continuing to do long term follow ups and analysis, Mischel found that children who waited for the second marshmallow proved to be more intelligent and successful in life. They had higher test scores, lower obesity rates, better social skills, and higher paying jobs.

Similarly, our whole lives are a series of marshmallow tests. God is always testing us and life is full of curveballs. But, if we are patient, things will get better. Yet, patience is not just about waiting. It’s about trusting in God’s plan and having a positive attitude while waiting. A lot of the kids who waited trusted the researcher that better things were coming and found ways to keep themselves occupied whilst waiting. We have to keep going, actively trying to better ourselves and have faith that good things are coming. Without hope, we have no purpose, nothing to look forward to. It’s said time and time again, however cliché it may sound: good things come to those who wait.

Overall, 2016 was filled with many sleepless nights and even more tears. I worried I would fall back into depression, and sometimes, I got really close. But this year also strengthened my relationship with God. For the first time in a while, I had to trust Him with every ounce of my being and rely on Him completely, which I’m trying my level best to do. And who can be any better to trust than the One who knows what’s coming? He’s the One that has a plan, the One that makes no mistakes, and the One that knows the reason for everything.

Keep on trekking Mimi. I have faith 2017 will bring 2 marshmallows.

Love,

Didi

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Rishta Report: What Aunties Don’t Tell You

Dear Mimi,

Welcome to my new little tid-bit, Rishta Report. As I continue to go thru this tumultuous journey that Nani is convinced is actually one of the best things I can do, might as well share them all with you, so that you know what to expect when you’re older. Or you can wallow with me in your misfortune when your time comes. Either one, your choice.

Starting now, I’ll “report” (see what I did there) on the ups and (hopefully not many) downs of this process, and we’ll see how it goes. Better than being on ‘The Bachelor’, right?


Rishta Report: What the Aunties Don’t Tell You

Once you hit 20, all the aunties automatically know. It’s like they have an alarm so that they know when they can start pestering you about getting married. Where these alarms are, I have yet to find out. But when I do, I will destroy them all. I promise.

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Anyway, so now all the aunties are telling you how great it is to be married and automatically deem themselves the matchmaker lady of the world, so they’re all throwing these guys at you and you’re just existing, feeling like this:

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I swear to you, it’s in the auntie handbook. Page 1: ‘First Rule of Being an Auntie: Encourage marriage at all opportunities. Heck, don’t even wait for an opportunity. Just bring it up always and often. And continuously have different rishtas to suggest’. There you go.

Continue reading

Learning to Let Go

Dear Mimi,

I wanted to write this post a while ago, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it until now.

Several months ago, I met this guy. And yes, throughout life, you will meet many guys etcetera etcetera. But this guy was different. He was everything any girl, and more specifically I, would ever want: tall, handsome, smart, funny, kind, responsible, caring, trustworthy, successful. He was beyond my wildest dreams. I had lost hope that guys like him even existed, let alone having the pleasure of meeting one.

We were introduced by mutual friends and things proceeded smoothly. We talked, I met his parents, he met mine. Just the thought of him made me excited for the future and there was no doubt in my mind that he was ‘the one’. I didn’t even deserve him. He was too good for me. I considered myself lucky just to be able to get to know him. Things were going great.

Until they weren’t. Continue reading

20 More Inspirational Quotes AKA 20 New Quotes to Caption Your Instagram Photos With

Dear Mimi,

Here are some more immature baby quotes for not so immature babies (so for mature babies, immature adults, mature adults, the possibilities are endless).

By the way, I had written these down a while ago and for some reason I didn’t think it was important to write down the author. But no worries, a quick Google search will solve that problem for ya.

  1. The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.
  2. Begin with where you are now. Begin with your tremblings, your earthquake. The universe didn’t start with a sigh, but with a bang. So begin. The stars inside you are waiting.
  3. It was sunsets that taught me that beauty sometimes only lasts for a couple of moments, and it was sunrises that showed me that all it takes is patience to experience it all over again.
  4. The wound is the place where the light enters you.
  5. How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great.
  6. You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.
  7. Fear is the devil’s greatest illusion.
  8. Don’t settle. Don’t finish crappy books. If you don’t like the menu, leave the restaurant. If you’re not on the right path, get off it.
  9. Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘You cannot withstand this storm’. And the warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm’.
  10. The strength of a woman is not measured by the impact that all her hardships in life have had on her; but the strength of a woman is measured by the extent of her refusal to allow those hardships to dictate her and who she becomes.
  11. Even with a broken wing, she decides to fly, hoping the wounds would heal in flight.
  12. Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.
  13. This isn’t where the book ends. It’s just where the chapter turns into another. A turning page is also a turning point. Inked progression. Let this pen move freely.
  14. They say good things take time. But really great things happen in the blink of an eye.
  15. Don’t turn away when it gets dishearteningly difficult, because when we step onto flights towards skies that best suit us, the storms are always worth swallowing. Learn to use the lightening as fiery fuel to further propel you to all that encourages your own aliveness. Life simply moves too swiftly for anything less.
  16. One day, your heart will stop beating and none of your fears will matter. What will matter is how you lived.
  17. By choosing to be our most authentic and loving self, we leave a trail of magic everywhere we go.
  18. Someday, we’ll forget the hurt, the reason we cried, and the one who brought the pain. We will finally realize that the secret of being free is not revenge, but letting things unfold in their own ways and time. After all, what matters is not the first, but the last chapter of our lives which shows how well we ran the race. So smile, laugh, forgive, believe, and LOVE over and over again.
  19. You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.
  20. She was hurting, but she didn’t run away from it. She embraced the pain, because when it is deep, that is what has to be done. You have to feel your way out of the darkness when you can’t see the light.

Love,

Didi

An Open Letter To My Fiancé’s Ex — ‘The One That Got Away’

Dear Mimi,

This is a post written by one of my closest friends. It describes, true, raw emotion of love, something I cannot describe to you yet, having never felt that before. I hope you read it and learn something, how to be vulnerable, how life can change, how love works.

Love,
Didi

Thought Catalog

Flickr / Richard P J LambertFlickr / Richard P J Lambert

Dear S,

Even though we’ve never met, I feel like I know you. Despite living at opposite ends of the country, we’re kind of like neighbors. Except, the space we share is in his heart. And here I am, finally doing what you weren’t able to finish. I’m sorry. But I won’t feel right proceeding without letting you know a few things.

I want you to know that I saw it. I saw the way he loved you. The way, because of you, for the first time in his life, he was happy. The way he wouldn’t even look at another girl because he was so captivated by you. I saw the way that even though he was here, back home physically, his mind and heart were back in California with you. I saw the way nothing else mattered to him. I saw that…

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20 Little Known Inspirational Quotes AKA 20 New Quotes to Caption Your Facebook Photos With

Dear Mimi,

Quotes are the best because often times, someone else speaks the words better than we can speak them ourselves. Here are some of the lesser known quotes, yet still powerful. And the ones that really haven’t made the 428 rounds on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Tumblr to gain the rite of passage of being an “actual quote” yet. Does that make these immature baby quotes?

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  1. “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” –Vincent Van Gogh
  1. “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.” –Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist 
  1. “You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” –Saul Bellow
  1. “The firmest friendships have been formed in mutual adversity,
    as iron is most strongly united by the fiercest flame.” –Charles Caleb Colton
  1. “In the sky there are always answers and explanations for everything: every pain, every suffering, joy and confusion.” –Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
  1. “You must give everything to make your life as beautiful as the dreams that dance in your imagination.” –Roman Payne
  1. “The fact that you are still alive assures you that God has something for you to accomplish.” –Rodney A. Winters
  1. “We can become inspired to shape a higher, more ideal future, and when we do, miracles happen.” –James Redfield, The Tenth Insight: Holding the Vision
  1. “You never know when the truth will come home. You can’t choose the time. The time chooses you.” –Rick Yancey, The Infinite Sea
  1. “I’ve come to realize that sometimes, what you love most is what you have to fight the hardest to keep.” –Kirsten Hubbard, Wanderlove
  1. “To recognize that the greatest error is not to have tried and failed, but that in trying, we did not give it our best effort.” –Gene Kranz
  1. “The most powerful weapon on Earth is the human soul on fire.” –Dale Partridge
  1. “Failure is when you give up. A real winner is someone that doesn’t give up, even when it feels like they are losing.” –Joshua Hartzell
  1. “If pain is a pot of boiling water, humor can be the rising steam.” –Cameron Conaway, Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet
  1. “I am not afraid of tomorrow for I have seen yesterday, I have today and I know Him who holds tomorrow so I know tomorrow will be beautiful for me.” –Jaachynma N.E. Agu, The Best Option
  1. “We wait for the rains to cease, the clouds to part, and the sun to shine before saying life is good. Ironically, it is because we endure the storms that life seems so wonderfully bright at their passing.” –Richelle E. Goodrich
  1. “Keep smiling and one day, life will get tired of upsetting you.” –Unknown
  1. “Life is like a landscape. You like in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance.” – Charles Lindbergh
  1. “The more sand has escaped from the hourglass of life, the clearer we should see through it.” –Niccolo Machiavelli
  1. “We all have two lives. The second one starts when we realize we only have one.” –Tom Hiddleston

Love,

Didi

Why Do People Leave Each Other?

Dear Mimi,

In this part of the book, Sr. Yasmin mentions how attachment was her biggest weakness. And honestly, it is mine too. It’s really hard growing up away from all of your grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins, especially when everyone around you seemed to have all of theirs close by. Eids were lonely, Thanksgivings were hard, and it was difficult to not be able to enjoy your friends and family in the same place. It always felt like I had to choose: either go to India for 3 months and forget about spending summer with my friends, or stay here with my friends and miss out on family. It could never be combined.

The times I did have with my family though, were better than and closer to my heart than any of the times spent with my friends. Yes, alhumdulillah, my friends were great, but at the end of the day, I had to go home and they had to go home. With family though, they were your home. You never had to leave. They were a part of you, and you, a part of them. And of course, because I never saw them as often as I would’ve liked, they became my attachment. They became my test of patience in this dunya. Continue reading